Our hospital, a place of health and healing, suffers from a serious illness.
Ironically, the very people elected or appointed to keep the hospital healthy have failed to honestly look at the injuries, hoping that by ignoring the symptoms the problems will disappear. Most of us will remember that about the time of Ray Southwell’s wrongful termination, the Hospital Service Area Board unanimously called for a management/operational audit by a professional outside agency, but the examination was refused by the Mayor and the Assembly. To keep him quiet, Southwell was told to leave. Not long ago, to prevent the call for another much-needed audit, the Assembly moved to float the idea that the SAB members be appointed by the Mayor. The Clarion’s Sunday Editorial and its below-the-fold article about Ray Southwell’s selfless effort to blow the whistle on harmful management practices show that the people want oversight and answers. Rather than searching for answers, we’re seeing an effort by hospital management, the Assembly, and the Mayor to remove or hinder objective, courageous, and non-political people who watch over our hospital.
Saying that SAB appointments by the Assembly and Mayor would save money and time is nothing more than a feeble excuse to gain public support and silence constructive criticism while further covering up the problems. Whether by appointing a select board or by firing a whistleblower, it is an effort to avoid real transparency. I for one look forward to the NLRB trial on May 15. Perhaps a judge can do what neither the former CEO, the Mayor, or the Assembly have refused to do: To declare that the hospital’s ills are self-induced by people we trusted to keep it well.